In August 2010, Google started to allow business owners to directly reply to all reviews by customers and visitors; negative, neutral or positive.
In years past, you couldn’t respond to any negative review. All you could do is sit there and take it.
For many business owners, having the ability to respond has given them a lot more control over their online reputation management and allow them to publicly address their accuser.
No business is perfect and it only takes one bad experience for someone to leave a negative review. And, how you respond to that negative review will demonstrate a lot about you and your business so choose carefully how you respond.
I’m in the boat of all glowing reviews (Currently I have 16 reviews that are all 5 stars, the highest rating possible) and no average or negative reviews. I’m not in any way shape or form complaining and is precisely what I strive for as a business owner. However, I also know that it might make my business sound too good to be true.
Having a negative review, to me, isn’t the end of the world. In fact,I believe it can actually make your business more believable and trusted.
If a negative reviews does come my way, I have the ability on my Google Places page to respond, but I’m hearing buzz that some people can’t do this. Check your page and see if you can respond or not.
So, should you respond to a negative review?
For my business, I’m prepared to respond to a negative review and feel it’s important for my business. You might not for whatever reason.
However, in order to respond, you must first either claim your page that Google created or you must have set it up originally.
For those that do feel it’s important to respond, here are some steps to keep up on your reviews:
- Check to see if you can respond. As I mentioned earlier, not all Google Places accounts have the ability to respond. That said, I highly recommend you still develop a plan so you can address whenever it does go live for you.
- Monitor your reviews. Check your page a couple of times a week. You can even set up a Google alert that will send you an email whenever your business name is mentioned or reviewed.
- Develop a plan for reviews. Don’t just sit around waiting for reviews to happen. Deliberately and systematically encourage your students to leave reviews and make it easy for them to leave one. That way you have a bank of positive reviews to help offset any bad ones.
- Respond to your reviews. Respond wisely and not in haste. Sleep on any response you want to post to help avoid using the wrong words that make matters worse.
How should you respond to a negative review?
- Be civil. This is no time to get personal or name call. Thank the person for brining the issue to your attention.
- Address the issue. Don’t just sweep it under the rug. Take the feedback to heart and use it to make your business better.
- Make it right. Does their review have merit? Demonstrate you’re willing to go over and above to make things right. This has a profound impact on the person who left the negative review and also shows you care to those reading your response.
Good reviews are important to getting ranked in Google Places. And, they can heavily influence potential students to either use your service or going down the street to your competitor. And, having a negative review isn’t the end of the world and is often expected by your potential students. It’s how you deal with it (or not) that matters most.
How have you addressed negative reviews on your Google Places page?